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WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 22 Mar 2021 | Comments

Rory McIlroy will be praying for an upturn in his fortunes when he tees it up with the other 63 best players in the world at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. There will be one or two notable absentees at Austin Country Club with Tiger Woods still recovering from the injuries he suffered in a car crash and there are injury doubts surrounding Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose.

McIlroy has now fallen out of the top 10 in the world rankings and the 18-time PGA Tour winner will be making his 12th career start in the tournament and is desperate to find some inspiration as he prepares for The Masters next month. He won this in 2015 and, despite his recent struggles, he will be confident of enjoying a decent run in an event that features 16 groups of four players competing in a round-robin format, with the winners of each group going through to the knockout stages.

When the tournament was last played in 2019, Kevin Kisner beat Matt Kuchar in an uninspiring final. Earlier, McIlroy lost to Tiger Woods in the round of 16. The Northern Irishman has won three World Golf Championships, including the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Invitational, the 2015 Dell Technologies Match Play and the 2019 HSBC Champions. In 11 prior appearances at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the 31-year-old has advanced to at least the semi-finals three times.

The 2019 FedExCup Champion has made 10 starts this season, finishing in the top-10 four times, most recently at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he placed tied for 10th. But he failed to make the cut at The Players Championship, where he was defending the title. He opened with a miserable round of 79 and followed it with a lacklustre 75. He then took the week off to recharge his batteries and try to find some form.

Rory McIlroy

He will certainly have his work cut out for him if he is to win this week. Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrell Hatton, Patrick Reed, Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson are all in the field.

“We are excited to see the top 64 players in the world commit to the 2021 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play,” said executive director Jordan Uppleger. “The tournament's return is shaping up to be an unforgettable one. The PGA Tour has seen tremendous tournament winners the past few weeks such as Bryson DeChambeau at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, along with Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka to name a few. And having Rory in the field adds undoubted star-power for the event.”

Jordan Spieth’s recent revival means that he has climbed back into the top 64 and will also be looking to kick on as he searches for his first victory since The Open at Royal Birkdale back in 2017. He has endured a rotten run but has been in contention three times this year without being able to seal the deal.

Spieth, who lives nearby in Dallas, is set to make his seventh career start in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where his best run came in his 2014 debut, losing in the quarter-finals to Ernie Els.

Sergio Garcia has fond memories of Texas, beginning with his professional debut in 1999 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, and two years later with his first PGA Tour win at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth. Garcia has advanced to at least the round of 16 seven times in his WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play career, including each of the last two years. With 17 prior tournament appearances to his credit, only Lee Westwood has more starts in the event than Garcia.

DeChambeau, who lives in Dallas, will be making his second start. The 27-year-old burst onto the PGA Tour scene with a win at the 2017 John Deere Classic and has dominated the headlines in the past couple of years with his quest fro distance, culminating in his victory in the US Open at Winged Foot last year. And he has continued that form, beating Westwood earlier this month to land the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.

Scottie Scheffler had an outstanding rookie season last year, finishing fifth in the FedEx Cup as he recorded seven top-10 finishes, and also shot a 59 at the Northern Trust Open, where he was beaten by Dustin Johnson. Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose miss out because of injury.

To Win:

Justin Thomas. A birdie machine

Each Way:

Bryson DeChambeau. Should be made for matchplay

Each Way:

Jon Rahm. Desperate to win this one

Fantasy Picks:

Justin Thomas. Back to his brilliant best

Bryson DeChambeau. Would YOU fancy facing him?

Jon Rham. Usually there or thereabouts

Rory McIlroy. If ever a man needs a good week….

Matthew Wolff. Capable of tearing courses to shreds

Tommy Fleetwood. Still looking for that first PGA Tour victory

Tyrrell Hatton. Has suffered something of a dip in form

Jordan Spieth. It’s good to see him back to something like his best

Scottie Scheffler. Fabulous young player

Dustin Johnson. Looking for yet another WGC title

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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